Preferred Family Healthcare: St. Louis, Missouri

By Brown, Julia | Behavioral Healthcare Executive, Spring 2015 | Go to article overview

Preferred Family Healthcare: St. Louis, Missouri


Brown, Julia, Behavioral Healthcare Executive


Preferred Family Healthcare's (PFH) newest substance abuse and behavioral health facility opened its doors last September in Dutchtown West, a neighborhood of South St. Louis that's reverberating with revitalization.

Residing in a gated area just five minutes from downtown, the ADVANCE@ PFH program offers a full continuum of care for young adults ages 18 to 26.

"From a clinical standpoint, our program was basically built because nowhere in Missouri can an 18 year-old go and have tailored, specific treatment for his or her age group," says Jim Wallis, vice president of community development and marketing, Preferred Family Healthcare.

According to Wallis, there are several residential programs in Missouri for adolescents but not many for young adults. In the state, turning 17 and nine months means transitioning into adult treatment.

"[They're] in there with 20, 30, 40, 50 year olds that may be two times through the department of corrections and have a lot of different issues," he says. "Not only is it uncomfortable for that young adult--their treatment is typically not successful and they'll leave treatment early--but it's uncomfortable for those 40 and 50 year olds that really don't want to deal with the teenager."

Wallis says that although age population targeting was the main goal of building the program and facility, PFH also wanted to create a quality program that would align with the changing healthcare landscape and also be attractive to diverse funding streams. Additionally, they wanted to ensure that the facility would be attractive to their young adult clients.

"A lot of thought was put into building a quality facility so that the population isn't going to run the other way when pulling into the parking lot," he says. "Meeting today's business and clinical needs was something that we really concentrated on."

The brand new residential facility is 23,000 square feet, has 16 beds (two additional for overflow purposes) and took 14 months to build, Wallis says. PFH solicited St. Louis-based architect The Lawrence Group and worked with general contractor Banze Construction, but handled their own interior design.

They went with a coastal theme in terms of colors and furnishings in order to maintain a soothing atmosphere throughout the facility. Circular elements were also incorporated.

"In Preferred Family's 35 years in business, this is the second or third ground-up building that we've designed," Wallis says. …

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